Posted by Matt Moore
On a conference call Friday afternoon after it was announced he would be leaving his position as President of the Knicks, Donnie Walsh pinpointed age and the need fro the President going forward to work under a multi-year deal as the primary reasons why he would be departing the Knicks after three years.
"Jim (Dolan) and I started working on some sort of extension that would be a multi-year deal. The more we talked about it, the more I realized I wouldn't want a multi-year deal. I can understand why he'd want that. I just realized I probably wasn't the guy to go forward with."
Walsh, ever the company man and a man who does business "the right way" denied reports that autonomy was an issue between he and Dolan, with rumors implying Dolan wanted more control over decision-making than Dolan was comfortable with. Still, there were things Walsh said to suggest everything is not peachy within MSG.
"I basically had a good relationship with Jim," Walsh said. "He treated me very well." Walsh spoke about how it's commonplace for owners to be involved in negotiations like what occurred during the trade negotiations for Carmelo Anthony. He denied that Dolan's involvement led in any way to his departure.
"No, it had nothing to do with it. I don't understand why people make a deal about an owner getting involved in a negotiation. I was called and told by (Dolan) before the deal, 'I can't make this decision. This is your decision.'"
Walsh spoke highly of the organization, the fans, his staff, and Mike D'Antoni, saying he had spoken with the Knicks head coach prior to the announcement and given him his support to "finish the job."
As far as the future of the Knicks, Walsh spoke often about "filling in the blanks" or "gaps" on the Knicks' roster with players to support the two franchise superstars, Anthony and Amar'e Stoudemire. He said he will relocated to Indiana but maintain an apartment in New York in his role as a consultant to help with "whatever (he) can."
Most forcefully, Walsh denied Isiah Thomas' involvement in the situation.
"I don't think Isiah Thomas had anything to do with basically anything I'm doing right now. I've always had a relationship with Isiah, I'm not going to give that up because everyone's talking and writing about it. I haven't seen Isiah in a long time."
The New York Daily News reports that part of the offer from James Dolan to Walsh to stay on including a 40 percent pay cut.